Why Is Packaged Food Cheaper?

We have something called WRAP – Waste and Resources Action Programme – in the UK. They’re the people tasked with reducing waste across the economy. Sadly, they’re either idiots or woefully misinformed. For they fail the most basic economic test of the problem they’re supposedly there to deal with.

The perceptive – OK, all those not drooling morons – will grasp it immediately:

Supermarkets must ditch plastic packaging on fruit and vegetables and remove sell-by dates in order to reduce waste, a new government-backed report has said.

New advice for packaging and labelling fresh produce has been produced by waste reduction body Wrap, the Food Standards Agency and Defra to tackle one of the biggest areas of food waste.

Around a fifth of food brought into UK homes ends up as waste, including £4 billion worth of binned fruit and vegetables, costing the average household hundreds of pounds a year.

A previous investigation by The Telegraph as part of a Zero Waste campaign, aimed at improving recycling systems and reducing plastic waste, found that in almost every major supermarket, it was far more expensive to buy fruit and vegetables without plastic packaging.

For any drooling – or anyone who works for WRAP where there’s a difference – the question is, well, why is it cheaper to buy packaged?

It’s a standard Chesterton’s Fence point. Why is it that profit orientated sellers of summat insist upon the extra cost of packing something in an oil derivative? Because overall it is cheaper to do so.

Obviously.

Why is it cheaper to do so? Because less food is wasted if it is packaged. One oft used example being that a cucumber sitting on the shelf has a useful life of some couple of days. Goes soft and squidgy after that, really not got the sort of snap needed for the crustless sandwiches. Wrap it in some clingfilm equivalent and that shelf life extends out to seven days.

Using plastic reduces food waste. How can we tell this? Because even with the extra cost of the wrapping the wrapped food is cheaper. We must be using fewer resources overall by using the wrap.

So, what do the government people employed to tell us how to reduce waste go around saying? We must all stop using the food packaging which reduces waste.

These are idiots, woefully misinformed or just drooling morons? Answers on a postcard to Boris and – Carrie is it this week? – at Number 10 please.

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Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

I have been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which are to be put in vials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers.

Well, it makes more sense than these morons.

Spike
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Spike

Was it not government that mandated those sell-by dates in the first place?

With unlimited agencies, each with its separate statistic to maximize and no notion of investigating what the costs might be, there is no limit to the burden we can place on business.

John B
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John B

The question is why do we want to reduce ‘food waste’? What purpose does it serve? Who will be better off?

jgh
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jgh

I go foraging for blackberries and mushrooms. I know from experience that I’ve got to package them within a couple of hours of getting home or I’ll end up with a festering mess. Some mushies you can’t even leave overnight or they’ll live up to their name.

Anyway, I say give the consumers the choice and give it ’em good and hard. They’ll quickly come back scouring the shelves for packaged food.

Phoenix44
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Phoenix44

I can say without any doubt that I do not throw away 20% of the food I buy. If I did on a regular basis, do you know what, I would buy less. Are we really supposed to believe that most people are so stupid that can’t work that out?

ChemEng
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ChemEng

Sainsbury’s have recently stopped providing plastic bags for loose veg (eg potatoes).~No plastic lids on cream pots either. They want you to buy a 30 p “reusable” mesh bag instead (who wants to reuse a bag encrusted with dirt off potatoes?). Meanwhile plastic abounds on pre-packaged food. They are quite happy to use plastic for their convenience (i.e increase shelf life, sell more in quantities they decide on), but deny that choice to their customers. As usual its all about virtue signalling, nobody really cares that the effect of this policy will (like the ban on ‘free’ plastic bags) increase… Read more »